AV Player HD is an app developed by ePLAYWORKs and picks up for your iPad where VLC left off. It's a video player application through which you're able to watch videos in most formats, including mkv, avi, flv, mp4 and mov. It also plays videos of multiple resolutions, be it 4:3, 16:9 or even 5:4. You can even view subtitles in the app (if the video includes the srt, smt or txt files for subtitles). Transfering videos into the app can either be done via USB through iTunes, or over Wifi. Both methods of transfering are very easy and convenient. The videos can also be played on a tv by connecting the iPad to a TV. The aspect ratio of playback on the TV can be set from the application itself.

Allows you to play most formats seamlessly

Allows you to play most formats seamlessly

Design
The design of the app is pretty simple. When you launch the app, you're taken to a menu of three options. The first option is Media Explorer where your videos are arranged in a library. Then comes Wifi transfer, where you're able to receive videos from your PC. Finally, there's the settings link. Transfering videos cannot be done while watching a video or playing with the settings. You have to be in the Wifi transfer section at all times while receiving video. 

The welcome screen

The welcome screen

Features

In your library, you can create folders to better organize your video. You can also change the settings of each video in your library by clicking the wrench icon on the top right. Settings you can customize are the name of the video, audio streams, and consistent horizontal or vertical orientation. Finally, you can delete your videos from the library itself.  

The versatility of the application is definitely worth two thumbs up. Now that VLC isn't available for iOS, an app which can play the majority of common video formats is something that iPad users especially need. Upon testing with a variety of video formats including mkv, mov, flv and mp4, as well as video resolutions including 1280 x 720, 480 x 270 and 1280 x 544, the player does indeed accept a variety of formats and plays them without a problem (of course adding black bands where needed). The one problem the player has with playback is with 1920 x 1080 resolution. Videos in this resolution frame during playback. You can play the video full screen if needed (frame within frame icon on the top right of the player), however the picture will be stretched or compressed, depending on what its original resolution is.   

The settings menu

The settings menu

The subtitles too work perfectly. In the settings, the size, shadow, outline and colour of the subtitles (between black and white) can be customized. Other features you can customize are the tv out resolution, resume points of videos (the app picks up where you left off in a video), auto playing the next video in your video library, gestures like tapping to show and hide the menu while playing a video, double tapping for changing display sizes etc., and locking to landscape. You can even set a passcode to the app (useful for parents for keeping children out of not-for-their-eyes videos).

What the info button shows during video playback

What the info button shows during video playback

While playing your videos, the player itself offers a few features on the left hand side. The first icon gives you the option to change the colour that you view your video in. For instance, a normally coloured video can be viewed in black and white, sepia tone, desaturated and oversaturated tones. This feature works in selective file formats and resolutions. It seems a little weird that the app does some essentially post production work and aside from being useful for colourblind users, I've yet to find a logical use for this function. It worked (during testing) for mkv, flv and avi files, however not in mp4 or mov files when played in 1080p. The other function in the player itself is the ability to turn the subtitles on and off (the little chat bubble icon on the left hand side). The next function in that line is a screen lock, to play in either landscape or portrait exclusively and finally an information icon which tells you which video you're watching, in which format, whether it has subtitles or not and whether it's using H/W decoding. On the right hand side, you can quicken up or slow down your video upto two times its original speed. While playing, to move forward or backwards on the playing timeline, you can only drag the pointer up or down the timeline. You can't tap on the spot of the timeline you want to play from.

Gestures offer freedom and can be customized

Gestures offer freedom and can be customized

Conclusion
The versatility and convenience that AV Player HD provides is definitely worth the $2.99 (approx Rs. 134) that it costs in the App Store. It requires iOS 4.2 or later on the iPad and has versions for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well. The number of formats and resolutions (barring 1080) you can play without a problem is definitely freeing. The fact that some important features like orientation locking, tapping for screen size and subtitles access are in the player itself (without you having to go through the settings) are very convenient and make watching videos an easier experience. The colour function seems a bit random and I'm pretty sure filmmakers will not like users playing around with the colours of their films. Overall, I'd rate this app an 8 on 10. The price at which you get versatility and convenience is totally worth it, however not playing 1080 properly is huge drawback and hopefully a future update will fix this glitch.

Publish date: March 23, 2011 12:23 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:29 pm

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